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Hyundai MUV `Carens' launch hits roadblock

Neha Kaushik

NEW DELHI, Feb. 13

HYUNDAI Motor India's plan to launch the `Carens', a multi-utility vehicle (MUV), in the country this year seems to have hit a roadblock for now.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has sought a clarification from the company on the proposed launch on the grounds that Carens is actually a product from Hyundai's associate company, Kia Motors. Hyundai India had intended to import the product as completely built units (CBU).

"We will be speaking to the FIPB about this soon, on whether the Carens will be considered a Hyundai product," Mr B.V.R. Subbu, President, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, told Business Line.

The model, when introduced into India, would have been sold as the Hyundai Carens, rather than the Kia Carens.

Last year, the FIPB had granted permission to Hyundai to introduce several models in the Indian market, including the likes of the Carens, Terracan, Getz, Elantra, Tuscani and Santa Fe.

Hyundai officials, meanwhile, pointed out that cross-badging of vehicles among itself and Kia is quite common, and that the company follows this approach globally, varying from market to market.

In fact, several automobile manufacturers follow this strategy worldwide.

For instance, General Motors India too, had recently indicated that it plans to launch the Subaru Forrester, owned by an alliance partner. The vehicle would be supplied by Japan-based Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd (FHI), which is 20 per cent owned by General Motors Corporation, the US parent of General Motors India.

Commenting on the other proposed launches from the company this year, Mr Subbu said that the clinical trials for the Getz have been completed. He added that the company is now studying the data as well as other aspects related to the launch of the car. The Getz, a super-mini car, is expected to be positioned between Santro and Accent.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the Hyundai Terracan, a sports utility vehicle, is likely to be launched in the latter half of the year.

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